The lack of resources for humanitarian organizations working in the Philippines is a growing crisis. For organizations such as Asia America Initiative who are working in multiple hardship areas, we are doing everything possible to stretch every dollar or peso from our compassionate GlobalGiving partners. We realize the shortcomings of official agencies but rather than complain, we are trying to set good examples of cost-effective service. More than 1 million survivors of Typhoon Bopha in the Davao area still without stable houses or stable jobs. They have been mostly forgotten becauses of the scope of Super Typhoon Haiyan, where more than 11 million people are without adequate shelter, including 6 million who face severe nutrition shortages and clean potable water. We have seen wonderful examples of human kindness and unselfish teamwork. But we have also seen the worst elements of human nature. Women and children survivors of the storms and man-made disasters in the Philippines from Cebu in Visayas in the central region down to Zamboanga in the deep south are facing an additional serious danger -- human trafficking and slavery.
As a community-focused organization, we believe solutions can be achieved by many modest organizations working in partnership. Between September and November 2013 GlobalGiving individual donors sent AAI $715 dollars for our Typhoon Bopha relief program. To purchase food or bottles of water with that amount of cash would be like a speck of sand on a large beach. Instead, we are practicing the art of leveraging funds and sharing with partners who can maximize the impact of the funding. In the case, our partners are One World Institute of Califonia and the Mindanao region and the Mindanao Women's Commision, Inc. of Davao. We are using those funds to combat trafficking and slavery through livelhood opportunities, to purchase at least six sewing machines and looms to create entrepreneurial co-ops to make traditional weaving and clothing for a total of at least 30 women. Charity can never be enough. Instead, with income earned from working they can feed their families and avoid exploitation. We are starting with a realistic number of beneficiaries and will scale up the number, if we can increase the number of donors. The first livelihood tools are being purchased with Global Giving donor funds in January 2014. We sincerely thank those who have contributed and look forward to your support to expand the number of women and children we can protect. Every contribution makes a difference. God bless you for your generosity.
The following is an e-postcard from Zamil Akhtar, a GlobalGiving Representative in the Philippines:
Mindanao rarely had typhoons and then it had three – one after another. The people were not ready, and the devastation was enormous. Relief has taken a long time, but what I saw in Davao City was impressive. Communities had been resettled away from vulnerable zones, and houses had been rebuilt. Families were provided with medical care and relief supplies. The community leaders in Mindanao -- poorest part of the Philippines -- know that a lot more must be done, and Asia America Initiative is lending an essential hand by providing the direction and funding necessary to get things back to normal.
Through August 2013, the Philippines remains one of the most flood ravaged counties in the world. Relentless typhoons and other tropical storms continuously ravage the island nation. More than 1 million people remain washed out of their homes, with many families living in makeshift shelters. In response, with assistance from generous Global Giving donors, since June AAI and our partners from International Pharmaceuticals Incorporated [IPI] Foundation have turned less than $500 in cash donations into $20,000 of hygiene kits for more than 1,000 families or 5,000 men, women and children.
In mid-August 2013, AAI provided hygiene and other supplies for IPI Foundation to conduct relief missions into the rural mountainous area outside of Davao city, such as in Cateel. IPI provided trucks and humanitarian supplies, One Wold Inistute provided wheelchairs, and privatecompanies provided sea transport from Manila to Davao. We are currently making an effort to raise an additional $2,500. to better assist an additional 5,000 persons, including a large number of grandparents, who often are the hearts and souls of their extended families. We hope you can join us in this much-needed and urgent activity.
Since 2008,many areas of the world -- whether in developed or impoverished communities --have been devastated by unexpected deadly storms, floods and other natural disasters. The United Nations has cited the Philippines as the hardest hit country in the world during 2012. Many Filipino communites have yet to recover beyond tents and makeshift shacks, with clean water and adequte food and medicine in short supply. Six months ather Typhoon Bopha/ Pablo ended and initial aid missions have largely inished their work, many communites remain in desperate conditions.
Thanks to the good-hearted, if seemingly modest, donations by GlobalGiving donors, amounting to around $2,000 during the first quarter of 2013, some larger companies and charitable agencies have assisted Asia America Initiative and our fieldwork partners of the International Pharmaceutical Incorporated [IPI] Foundation to distribute more than US $650,000 of donated medical assistance to thousands of storm and flood victims in Visayas and Mindanao regions. Our aid has assisted all age groups from infants to grandparents. And small sachets of oral rehydration salts has saved the lives of those suffering from high-fever illnessses caused by unclean water supplies and deadly viruses.
This work has been recognized by the President of the Philippines and the Philippines Secretary of Health, Dr. Enrique Ona, as especially vital and timelyduring difficult survival time for countless families and children and senior citizens who have lost families in the calamities.
In a May 6, 2013 letter to AAI and our donors, Philippines Secretary of Health Dr. Enrique Ona, MD stated : "Our heartfelt gratitude. Your generosity will surely go a long way in making an immnediate difference in the health and lives of our people."
Asia America Initiative Emergency Flood Relief in
Davao, Mindanao, December 24 through February 4, 2012/13
The devastating Typhoon Bopha or Pablo [as named locally] slammed into the Philippines in the mountains and along the coastline of the city of Davao in the Mindanao Region during the first week of December 2012. The storm severely damaged or destroyed thousands of homes and rendered more than 2 million people homeless.
Between December 24th and February 4, Asia America Initiative’s emergency medical team, led by Registered Nurses, Ralph Samson and Mariole Sumile, joined with volunteers from the IPI Foundation of Cebu and Davao to conduct medical and emergency humanitarian support in some of the most devastated mountain and coastal areas. They were accompanied by a team of IPI dentists and a group of Philippine soldiers who provided security.
Davao Oriental Healthcare Mission On January 29, 2013 AAI Team arrived in Davao City, on a rainy night. On the first day, they departed at around 9:00 a.m. on an 8 hour bus and truck ride to the mountainous mining town, Baganga. Nurse Mariole Sumile recalls, “We passed some places where you can see former forests of coconut palm trees that were leveled. We were not sure if those trees were exclusively killed by the typhoon Pablo or also because of illegal logging. Thousands of trees were broken down and it was heartbreaking to see the condition of the environment. It made me reflect how trees help sustain people and yet some people purposely destroy the environment… Another heartbreaking situation was the destruction of houses and schools… Buildings totally broken, only the bare structures remain. Children now are having classes under a tent. Even some family homes are merely donated blue plastic to make tents. .. it may take years to build these communities up again.”
Cateel, Davao Oriental: Another underserved municipality was reached by the AAI and IPI Foundation Teams, the Municipality of Cateel in Davao Oriental Province. Just like in the Municipality of Baganga which was visited on the first day, Relief Goods and Hygiene Kits were also distributed, including 5kgs of rice, canned goods, and other food supplies such as Soy Sauce and Oil. Hygiene kits, these contain some of IPI’s donated products such as Bioderm Soap, Zip Mosquito Repellent, Omega Pain Killer Ointment, Efficacent Oil and among others. For women of reproductive age, AAI and IPI also distributed sanitary pads for their monthly menstrual cycle. There were 1,500 family hygiene kits distributed in Cateel which provided aid to approximately 6,000 people.
According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office XI, a total of 8,566 houses were totally damaged in the Cateel area, while 645 houses were partially damaged. There were also 10,240 families affected and another 29,938 individuals. Several food packs were distributed by the different Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and Humanitarian Relief Teams but were used up very quickly. The World Food Program also brought sacks of rice in the area to augment the scarcity of food and to serve as their supply for several months until the people are established. At present, most of the people are asking AAI and IPI Foundation more about health needs such as medicines for cough and colds, Paracetamol for fever and headache, pain reliever and basic wound care for wounded survivors, antibiotics for wound treatment and healing, anti-asthma and allergy for children and special age, anti-diarrheal and anti-parasitic for most of the children, water purifiers for unsafe drinking water. In addition, medical check-up and consultation from physicians are in short supply. Medicines for hypertension, diabetes, and other diseases are essential and badly needed because of the stress and unsafe consitions they have experienced that triggered their illnesses.
Electricity was not yet restored and repaired, thus, all of the Municipal Transactions and Humanitarian Relief Teams are relying on solar energy panels and generators as sources of electricity to continue the basic transaction and services to the people. However, it’s costly all networks are still fluctuating and unstable. Similarly, internet connections are inconsistent and slow. Wrecked roads and destroyed bridges are still under repair and construction, making it more difficult for all Non-Government Organizations (NGO) and Humanitarian Relief Teams to reach the area since they need to re-route taking almost 10 hours to travel from Davao City to Davao Oriental via Agusan del Sur.
Besides their homes destroyed and life savings vanquished, People’s livelihood is also affected, which makes people feel hopeless and desperate. The primary sources of income in Cateel are “Copra” (a coconut used to make oil and sold to big markets and manufacturers), Rice Farming, Banana Plantations, and Fishing. However, with the devastation caused by Typhoon Pablo, 95% of the coconut trees were uprooted and destroyed while 5% are still entrenched but leaves and trunks are shattered. This makes it more difficult and problematic for rehabilitation since coconut trees take years to grow and bear fruit. Rice farming is also impossible due to unstable and unfavorable weather condition everyday. Similarly, fishing cannot be conducted because of huge waves along the coastal lines caused by unstable sea and weather conditions.
Jade Valley, Davao City, was greatly affected by the wrath of Typhoon Pablo. Continuous rain caused overflowing of the Davao River and flash floods in some areas of Jade Valley on January 21, 2013, just before the AAI – IPI team arrived there. Residents of the community described the level of water in the area was 3 meters deep causing some of the houses to sink and to submerge up to the second floor.
Due to the crisis situation, the AAI and IPI Foundation tried our best to respond to the needs of the residents of Jade Valley, Davao City. Through the help and support of generous partners and our extended donor community through Global Giving, In Jade Valley, we distributed 700 family relief packs and hygiene kits to the residents of Jade Valley to support some 3,000 persons for at least one week. Aside from the relief goods and hygiene kits, the AAI and IPI Foundation rendered free blood pressure and dental check-ups and performed dental surgeries. It was heartbreaking for the AAI team to depart the area with so much still needed to be done. However, the people of Jade Valley were very thankful to AAI, IPI Foundation and our international partners for their generous help and aid support.
In Baganga, a village elder and retired coconut farmer, 74 year old Grandpa JoJo spoke for his community: “From the bottom of our hearts we thank our new friends from Asia America Initiative and all those people who sent support for us through Global Giving. We will never forget you.”
Attached is a List of Relief Goods distributed in the Davao area by Asia America Initiative
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